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11/30/2010

Concerned Women for [Playing both the victim and race cards]

by Jeremy Hooper

For starters, the Concerned Women For America's Penny Nance is just plain factually wrong:

"Concerned Women for America, among several other pro-family, pro-life national groups, has been named a “hate group” by The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) because of our opposition to same-sex “marriage.” "
SPLC “Logic” Turns Majority of African-Americans into Haters [CWA]

Because while they did cover the Concerned Women and their anti-gay rhetoric, the SPLC actually stopped short of adding CWA to its hate groups list. In fact, most of the data that SPLC documented about CWA came from earlier incarnations of the "pro-family" group, back when over-the-top (male) figures like Matt Barber, Peter LaBarbera, and Robert Knight were speaking on their Concerned behalf. Here in 2010, CWA actually churns out less hostility and errancy than new hate group list additions like FRC and AFA -- and SPLC seemed to recognized that distinction.

But beyond that empirical point: It's Penny's anecdotal claim regarding the SPLC's supposed statement about African-American voters that we really want to address here:

"By demonizing traditional family groups that support traditional marriage, they just put a huge portion of the African-American community in California in the same category with the rest us so-called bigots."
SPLC “Logic” Turns Majority of African-Americans into Haters [CWA]

This is the kind of thing we're seeing from all of the "pro-family" groups (official list additions and not) in the wake of the SPLC's latest: They all keep passing the buck, moving the target, muddying the waters, and shirking anything resembling responsibility. Not a one of them -- NOT A ONE! -- have 201011300851addressed (much less apologized for) any of the documented slights that the SPLC presented to the world. Instead, these supposed purveyors of moral clarity are all waving their hands around and babbling incoherent things, in hopes of creating a diversion.

In this instance, Penny makes it sound like SPLC has put every single voter who fails to support same-sex marriage in the "hate groups" box. Nothing could be further from the truth! In actuality, SPLC has placed a fairly high bar of qualification on its list. It's not general lack of support for LGBT rights that earns scrutiny: It's outright lies being used to oppose the same. It's not simple heterosexism or homophobia that gets a group listed: It's outrageous claims stating only gays were savage enough for Hitler or that gays should be exported and/or criminalized. It's not simply voting against same-sex marriage that earns ire: It's duping voters with myths, sham science, and proud condemnation. It's not about any one group that may or may not poll higher on specific ballot initiatives: It's about the condemnatory climate that certain figures craft as a career.

And Penny Nance knows all this to be true. But she also knows that her role requires her to work from that same old anti-gay playbook: The one where chapters 1-520 all demand seating the faith-based crowd in the victim chairs, chapters 521-700 direct readers to find other minority groups to rile up against the LGBT population, and chapters 701-1000 instruct the "culture war" soldier to play dumb whenever anyone simply makes note of what came forth from the mouths of biased babes.

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